Reasons I don’t want to be a drug addict, as seen in Gia

I’ve had my Netflix account for years and somehow my queue is only getting longer. It has about 300 movies in it, currently. But any time I rate a movie I’ve just watched, I end up adding 5 more to the queue. Essentially, my queue is so long that it takes me several years to see a movie once it gets added to the bottom.

Also, there was a significant delay because I got really pissed off at Netflix when they hiked their prices. How dare they charge me double the money for exactly the same service? I felt like they were playing a game with their customers, trying to see just how much money they could get before people got offended. So I got all self righteous about it and put my account on permanent hold for about 6 months with the end result being that I’m now watching movies that I probably added to my queue in 2009. (I had to reactivate my account; there are just too many movies I need to see).

There are some trends in my selection of movies that make it obvious that I just added every movie they suggested. For a while there I was watching a lot of weird, art-house Spanish movies. Then it was best-supporting actress movies. Now it’s an Angelina Jolie theme, which is clearly a spin-off of the former topic.

[Side note: her A & E Biography is a total joke. Don’t bother watching it. The show ran like writers from In Touch had produced it. Maybe they did. The whole thing was hearsay with all these unlikely people pretending that they knew all her business from high school. Although, the biography did have an actual interview with her father, which just goes to show you that Jon Voight is a pathetic old man.]

Gia is the movie that made Angelina Jolie famous. She’d made a few movies before it, but they all flopped. This was the first movie she did that people respected. It’s an HBO production that was based on the real life story of a supermodel in the early 80’s who was one of the first women to die from AIDS. The acting is pretty good, and I can imagine that if you had never seen Angelina Jolie before, she would bowl you over. She’s young and just unbelievably gorgeous. The script didn’t seem to be that far from her actual life (sans the heroin addiction and AIDS, I’m guessing) and so it’s easy to believe most of the scenes.

I couldn’t help wondering throughout the film whether Angelina has any regrets about Gia.You see her boobs every other scene, and there are a lot of lesbian encounters. I would be embarrassed if I were married and had 87 adopted children if just anyone could go watch scenes of me naked, making out with Elizabeth Mitchell. Angelina probably doesn’t care.

But this movie made me so happy that I wasn’t Gia and that I’m not addicted to drugs for many reasons.

1. Gia destroyed every relationship she had, professionally, by doing drugs on the sets of her photo shoots and showing up too strung out to do her job, and personally, by being a crazy heroin addict. I feel like this is so common with addicts; their behaviors drive everyone away, even the people that love them. The really sick thing was that the photographers and her agents just let her do drugs on the set and no one tried to stop her. Drugs kept her skinny, and heroin chic was in, so who cared if she was killing herself? I suppose this movie also killed my already nonexistent interest in being a model. It doesn’t appear to be a very healthy work environment.

2. The methods involved in doing heroin are awful. If anyone has any doubts about that, refer to the scene in Requiem for a Dream where Jared Leto shoots up into his gangrenous arm. You just want to shout at him, Dude, use the other arm! Gia does the exact same thing. She goes into withdrawal during a photo session and leaves to go shoot up in some derelict back alley without telling anyone.  When she finally makes it back home from a 2-day heroin bender, you can see that she’s shot up in every vein she could find.  I’m sure that heroin feels pretty amazing, but any drug that is eventually going to lead me to insert dirty-ass needles I’ve been sharing with hobos into my arm, thigh, ankles, and toes, I don’t want.

3. Shockingly (this is sarcasm), she got AIDS, and AIDS was ridiculously scary. It’s still scary today, but back then it was a death sentence. She’d already lost all her important relationships, but she lost everyone as soon as they knew it was AIDS. It was early enough in the 80’s that no one understood how the disease worked, and no one wanted to catch it. Her own mother made her go live in a hotel once she was diagnosed.

I can’t imagine having lived in New York then, with all of those people dying so quickly and doctors having no idea what the fuck was going on. The only thing they could tell people was that they were going to die, quickly and terribly. Gia gets pneumonia and then everyone figures out she has AIDS. After that, her own mother won’t even let her come stay with her because of the fear. It’s the saddest thing I’ve seen in a while.

4. I don’t want to be a drug addict because you have to go to really scary parts of town to get drugs, and sometimes the drug dealers beat you up, even though you’re clearly cracked out and also dying of AIDS. The drug dealers beat her up when she had pneumonia! Talk about kicking somebody when they’re down…

5. I’m also glad that I’m not dating a drug addict. Poor Elizabeth Mitchell’s character. Before Gia’s life goes into full downward spiral, she has a pretty cool relationship with her lady friend/ make-up artist. The lady friend gives Gia an ultimatum to pick the drugs or her, and Gia picks the drugs. She picks the drugs—flat out and without second thought. There’s no more efficient way to kill a relationship. Gia also stabs her only friend from before she was famous when he tries to take her to rehab.

So, all in all, being a drug addict does not have a strong positive effect on personal relationships, nor does it do wonders for your career. Unless you are Angelina Jolie portraying a drug addict, in which case it’s your ride to the top.

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11 Meme

My friend Lynsey tagged me in this meme, and I didn’t feel like grading exams this evening, so here we are.
Rules
  1. You must post these rules.
  2. Each person must post 11 things about themselves on their blog.
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  4. You have to choose 11 people to tag and link them on the post.
  5. No tag backs and you legitimately have to tag 11 people.
11 Things About Me

1. I have a totally irrational fear of bees. They are, without a doubt, the most terrifying animal in the universe. I was “stung” over the summer, but before that I’d lived 24 years in constant fear. Actually, I stepped on the bee whilst playing badminton, and I’m not even certain that it was a bee. I pretended for a while that I was no longer terrified of them, but it was a ruse. They are so scary.

2. Whales are my favorite animals. What’s not to love?

They’re pretty much the best animals of all time. The only way I could love them more would be if their main food source were bees.

3. The 3 most influential books for me growing up were: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I feel like this answers any possible questions that anyone could have about me.

4. I’m notorious for not sleeping. I’m just not very good at it.

5. My dream job would be similar to what Anthony Bourdain does, but sans all the pig by-products he eats.

6. When I was little, I used to play a game with my neighbor where we would take turns tying each other to trees to see how long it would take us to get free. I still really enjoy untying knots.

7. I write a lot. Or I used to. I have 2 finished novels, a 3rd one that will probably never be finished and a zillion short stories. If I don’t know you, you can read them. If I do, you can’t. Sorry.

8. One of my favorite things to do when I had my other blog was write 40X365 poems. You’re supposed to write one every day (which I never did). They’re about a specific person that you interacted with that day and they have to be exactly 40 words long. Any form or meter.

9. I very rarely get mad at people, but when I do, I destroy everything I have that has to do with them. This is a very unfortunate character trait, as I usually stop being mad at some point. There are many things I wish I hadn’t thrown away/deleted because they would be so hilarious now.

10. I have t-rex arms. Your arm-span usually matches your height, and my arm-span is at least 2 inches short.

11. The weird coincidental path that led me to listen to Nick Drake is one of my favorite stories in my life thus far.

My Questions:

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  2. If you had a billion dollars, but could only use it to donate to charities, which charities would you select and why?
  3. Do you think the toilet paper roll should hang over or under?
  4. What is your earliest memory from childhood?
  5. How would you describe yourself in 5 words or less?
  6. What books or movies had the largest impact on your life?
  7. What kind of old person do you think you’ll be?
  8. What prejudices do you have?
  9. How would you describe your personal style?
  10. Do you look at your reflection when you pass by reflective surfaces?
  11. What does your favorite christmas ornament from childhood look like?
Lynsey’s Questions
  • 1. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled?
    Prague. For many reasons. Notably, it was dirt cheap. They hadn’t converted to the Euro and the train from the airport to the hostel cost 5 cents, literally. It also has architecture that went untouched by all the bombing and destruction during WWII, so it’s a fucking gorgeous city—except when you get to the totalitarian communist Russia section of the city, which is scary as fuck. Also, I was with Erinellis and we drank an entire bottle of absinthe together. I took a shower on my knees because I was too drunk to figure out how to adjust the shower head, and a bunch of foreign tourists snapped pictures of Erin passed out on the hostel balcony. I have many fond memories of that city.
  • 2. How many times have you moved in your entire life?
    I hadn’t moved much before I left home, but then I moved 3 times in 2 years. Not enjoyable. I’ll be happy when I am finally settled somewhere, but I don’t suspect that will happen for a while.
  • 3.What do you do to calm down when you’re stressed or upset?
    I’m very rarely stressed. Or maybe I am, but I don’t notice it. Either way, I don’t have mechanisms for dealing with being upset, so in the rare instances when I do get very upset, the only thing I’m capable of doing is crying, to a degree that is ridiculous, for much longer than is appropriate or necessary.
  • 4. What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?
    Screwdrivers. I don’t like orange juice and I don’t like vodka, but when you put them together they are delicious.
  • 5. Do you prefer to be outdoors or indoors?
    I am a ginger and I’m afraid of bees. I think you can probably guess that I like being inside. Sun porches are really the best combination of both.
  • 6. If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
    A whole selection of desserts. Cheesecake, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, fancy fruit tarts, tiramisu, etc. (The spell check will not accept tiramisu, and it just gave me Semiramis, Trimurti, and imprimatur as alternatives. WTF)
  • 7. Who was your first celebrity crush?
    Zack Morris. Oh, how I wanted to be Kelly Kapowski
  • 8. What was your favorite year of college and/or of high school (and why)?
    Sophomore year of college. I was introduced to so many amazing people who went on to become my best friends. I can’t remember doing anything but drinking and smoking, but I also got a 4.0 both semesters. It was an excellent time. I don’t know that I would return to it, but I’m glad I lived it and have all the memories.
  • 9. Tell me about an inside joke you have with your parents.
    This one is difficult for me. I’m not sure my parents and I really have inside jokes. But my dad exclusively calls me his “evil middle daughter”. I can’t really remember the last time he called me by my actual name. He does it in public, too. I don’t know where it came from….probably because I am evil and snarky in comparison to my sisters, but he’s done it for as long as I can remember.
  • 10. What was your first favorite song, and do you still like that song now?
    I had a Rainbow Bright vinyl that I was pretty obsessed with as a child. I honestly haven’t heard it in about 20 years, but I bet I would still dig it. I was a huge fan of all the disney songs too, and still am.
  • 11. In general, do you prefer dark or light hair on the opposite sex?
    I hate blond hair on men. If I ever end up dating someone with blond hair…I don’t know….it probably means I have brain damage. Or that he is really, really funny.
I Tag…

No one, because I don’t know anyone on this site except the person who tagged me.

Moneyball

Moneyball is the best movie I’ve seen in 2012. I should preface that by saying that I haven’t seen very many movies in 2012. Underworld: Awakening and A Dangerous Method are about all that come to mind. In Underworld, there were a distracting number of exposed tracheas and not enough of anything else.

As for A Dangerous Method…it’s true that I have a strangely intense love for Michael Fassbender, and he did rock a fabulous mustache throughout the film, but he was also a pathetic bastard and there were a few too many kinky spanking scenes for me to really get into the movie. How many times does someone really need to see Keira Kinghtly in an artfully undone corset get the shit whipped out of her with a belt? Once was novelty, twice was overkill, three times made me wonder how many times they had to film that particular scene? How does one prepare as an actor for a serious spanking scene?

But Moneyball was surprisingly good. I didn’t even know the film existed and it’s always helpful not to have preconceived notions about a movie. Also, I am a sucker for sports flicks. This is a bit of a conundrum, considering how much I hate movies involving underdog animals pulling through, especially anything involving dogs or, god forbid, horses. This hatred further extends to movies where mentally challenged people succeed enough to have somewhat normal lives. I just feel like none of those topics are fair. They take the easy way right into your heart and it doesn’t impress me. And obviously, I hate them because they make me weep like a small child when I watch them.

“That horse had a b-b-b-broken leg and now it’s running s-s-s-so fast! It’s winning! Waaaaaaah.” ——–Me. I don’t have a stutter; I’m just crying too hard to speak.

This, I think, is not fair and not art.

Sports movies, though, I like. A lot, actually. They should fit into the hitting-below-the-belt-emotional-heart-wrenchers, but they don’t for me. I think they must tap into the really human, primitive part of my brain. Groups of people pitted against each other with all sorts of complicated dynamics and forces at work? I love it.

And Moneyball is clearly focused on baseball, much like the television show Friday Night Lights is focused on football. The sports are there and they’re important, but they’re really just the backdrop for some phenomenal portrayals of human existence. At its core, Moneyball is the story of a few individuals versus a big, ancient machine of money, tradition, power, and weirdly misplaced nostalgia. Brad Pitt is fighting the good fight against the old boys and their old fashioned mentality of baseball, using statistics and clever common sense. Obviously, I liked this movie.

I love movies that don’t feel like they’re scripted, and Moneyball has some of the most lifelike dialogue I’ve seen in a long time. There are awkward pauses and not so coherent speeches. People fumble for words, and I like this because real human speech is nothing like what we see in movies. We’re incoherent. We don’t finish sentences. We interrupt constantly and talk through and over each other. So much of what we say is somehow inferred by the listener who’s sharing our reference point, but all of that gets lost in most movies.

And for some movies, it wouldn’t make sense to try to recreate real life speech patterns, but for a movie that’s based on real life, it’s the only thing that makes sense. Of course the scouts for the A’s, who are just a group of sleezy old men, all unattractive and splotchy, have to sit around muttering and talking over one another. That’s what they do.

There are these moments of impeccable comedic timing, too. This movie is incredibly funny, without any hint of effort. The scene that killed me was when Brad Pitt’s character, Billy Beane, and one of the coaches, Ron Washington, go to scout an injured player who was dropped from another team’s roster. They want him to play first base, despite the fact that he was a catcher.

Billy Beane: How’s the elbow, Scott?
Scott Hatteberg: You know, it’s good. It’s really good, it’s great. Uh…I can’t throw the ball.
Billy Beane: Yeah, you’ve thrown your last ball from behind home play, it’s what I’d say. Good news is, we want you in first. We want you to play first base for the Oakland A’s.
Scott Hatteberg: Okay, woh! I’ve only ever played catcher.
Billy Beane: Scott, you’re not a catcher anymore. If you were our call wouldn’t have been the only one you’d gotten when your contract expired.
Scott Hatteberg: Yeah. Hey, listen. No, I…I appreciate it.
Billy Beane: You’re welcome.
Scott Hatteberg: But the thing…the thing is uh…
Billy Beane: You don’t know how to play first base. Scott?
Scott Hatteberg: That’s right.
Billy Beane: It’s not that hard, Scott. Tell him, Wash.
Ron Washington: It’s incredibly hard.
Billy Beane: Hey, anything worth doing is.

They kill it. The deadpan delivery and the timing are perfect. It’s a hilarious moment, and there are many, many others just like it. Maybe I’m a sucker for the dry humor, but this movie was so intelligently funny. After constantly being bombarded by the more physical and outlandish humor currently favored in the types of comedies that are produced, it was nice to be reminded that movies can still be quietly and devastatingly funny.

And Brad Pitt is good. He deserves the Oscar nod. I don’t know that he deserves to win, but there are some really beautiful moments in the film. The scenes with his on-screen daughter are wonderful. One in particular stands out: he’s in a guitar shop with her and they’re picking out a guitar. She’s a pre-teen, awkwardly proportioned and unsure of herself. She’s playing one of the guitars and humming because they’re in the middle of the shop, but he asks her to sing for him. She does so reluctantly, and his entire face lights up with pride. Like a lot of things in this film, it’s subtle, but you can tell that he loves his daughter more than anything else, even baseball. He radiates this fatherly love for her and it’s impressively believable.

Jonah Hill was funny as well. He and Brad Pitt have great chemistry and it drives the movie. I was surprised that Jonah also received the Oscar nomination; part of me thinks he was nominated because he was playing a different role than the gross-out Superbad kind of comedy, but all in all, he’s not bad.

This is a spoiler, but the A’s lose in the end. I liked that, too.

The most interesting bit for me is that they had to change all the details of Jonah Hill’s character because the real man didn’t sign off on the movie. Apparently, he didn’t like the way he was being portrayed, but can you blame the guy? Someone decides to make a movie based on your life, and Brad Pitt is cast, but he’s not playing you. He’s playing some other guy, and instead, you are being acted by Jonah Hill. I would have disagreed, too.
“Maybe Brad can play me, and then Jonah can play Billy. No? Well fuck you.”—-That’s how I imagine the conversation went.

I can sympathize with the guy, mostly because I know if they ever made a movie out of my life it wouldn’t be Natalie Portman playing me, but Molly Ringwald circa 1987.

I feel your pain Pete….or Paul….or whatever your real name is. I feel you.

brains, ralphing, ravioli

I brought the human brain to class today. I’m not sure who he was or how the department acquired him, but the brain resides in a bright orange bucket in the rat labs on the 2nd floor.
This is one of my favorite parts of teaching intro psychology: I get to nonchalantly carry this old bucket into class, place it on the desk, and then pretend like it’s a totally normal aspect of my teaching repertoire.

What, this bucket? Oh, it’s nothing special.

After I showed a few videos about brain abnormalities and plasticity, I finally acknowledged the brain bucket. “Guess what’s in my bucket, boys and girls,” I said cheerfully. They’re not idiots, so someone immediately guessed a brain. “A human one,” I added significantly. College kids have this attitude that they are way too fucking cool for school, which I hate. So many of them are just trying to not look too eager to their classmates. No one likes a teacher’s pet, including the teacher. But on the flip side, getting them to do activities or participate can sometimes be murder, so it’s nice whenever they show blatant interest and excitement.

“No way.”
“Who was he?”
“Omg eww.”

I had them come up in groups for a closer look and to point out some of the structures we had been talking about. They were snapping pictures of it with their phones and asking a million questions, like kids at a zoo. They had a quiz afterwards, which is another of my favorite things about teaching. I love that energy buzz they give off when they’re all concentrating fiercely and frantically writing, their pencils all scratching across the desks.

I was contentedly cleaning brain juice off the desk and my laptop when my friend and cohort-mate Casey walked in through one of the classroom doors. People don’t randomly walk into your classroom; they just don’t, so I immediately assumed that someone had died. Not to mention, Casey had on her distinctive ‘shit is fucked up and I’m worried’ face.

“Can I talk to you for a second?” she asked in a weird and strangled voice.

“Yes,” I whispered, trying to figure out who had died. Her Chihuahua? He’s pretty ancient….but why would she interrupt my class for a dog?

We walked over to the side door.

“I was just in the bathroom peeing, and one of your students is puking her brains out.”

“Oh.” I hadn’t even noticed that anyone had left the room.

“She’s puked four times since she went in there. Want me to watch your class?”

I left Casey to proctor the quiz and went around the corner to the bathroom.  ‘You fucking idiot,” I muttered to myself, convinced that the sight of the human brain had driven this girl to go ralph repeatedly in the bathroom.

In the bathroom, my poor student was wiping her face with a paper towel. She looked like shit; her face was pasty and covered in a sheen of cold sweat. She was also shivering and looking horrendously embarrassed.

“I’m so sorry,” was the first thing that popped out of my mouth. I like this student a lot. She complimented my shoes on the second day of class and usually says something nice on her way out when class is over. It’s clear that she likes me, which is probably why I like her.

We had a really stupid banter where I apologized pointlessly and she said it was fine.

“Was it the brain?” I asked, timidly.

“Oh no, I think I have the flu. I probably should have just emailed you, but I had felt a lot better this morning….” She looked like she was not-so-quietly dying inside. Any second, I expected her to double over, heaving.

I told her to email me to figure out the quiz situation. Mostly, I just wanted her to get out of the building before she barfed again. I have a sympathetic gag reflex. I didn’t want a chain reaction.

My point in writing about this is that I think it’s the most insane thing I’ve seen someone do in a while. If I had the stomach flu, or even if I were just recovering from a massive hangover, there would be no possible way to get me out of my bed. I would not move from the bathroom floor until my vomit attacks were long gone.

School was important to me and I cared a lot about my grades, but they were nowhere near my top priorities. It scares me that there are people who are that driven.  My internal organs are collapsing, but I will.not.miss.this.quiz.

Batshit.

Maybe it’s an age thing or maybe it’s personality, but I can’t help thinking that there are plenty more important things than my class and my 25 point quiz. For example, the kick ass garlic & mozzarella ravioli I made for dinner tonight. So tasty in a homemade pasta sauce…

Moral of the story is send me an email and puke to your heart’s content in privacy.